Ruto storms Western, warns against Azimio's mass action

President William Ruto adress Busia resident ouside Busia referral hospital when President Ruto toured the facility on August 26, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

President William Ruto today kicked off a five-day development tour of the western region, a perceived Raila Odinga stronghold, with a clarion call to the locals to desist from anti-government protests championed by the opposition.

Ruto, who toured Budalang'i and Teso North constituencies in Busia and Lurambi constituency in Kakamega, regretted that the region had partaken wholesomely in the recent demos called by Azimio leader Raila Odinga over the rising cost of living, saying they were curtailing the country's development.

"I know the opposition is good at organising mass action but they cannot beat me in bringing you development projects like the Mulukoba fish landing site and I will soon launch a fisheries college here in your constituency," he said in Budalang'i.

"You see, there is nothing profitable in destroying other people's property or burning roads. You should think of bringing that culture to an end and give me a chance to actualise my manifesto."

He said the Sh130 million landing site he commissioned in the area would revolutionise fishing in local lakes and rivers and also promised to deal with the animosity faced by Lake Victoria fishermen from the Kenyan side.

On insecurity in Lake Victoria, Ruto said he had already met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to agree on how his officers who often harass Kenyan fishermen would tone down.

He added that he was dealing with the rising cost of living by subsidising the cost of farm inputs like seeds and fertiliser saying that would end up reducing particularly the cost of maize flour, a staple food for the average Kenyan household.

Ruto supported the ongoing bi-partisan talks between his government and opposition but assured they would never 'degenerate' to the level of sharing power between the two coalitions as some quarters thought.

He said that the leaders elected into office during the last general election were enough for the country and there was no room for extra posts to appease election losers, at least, not through the talks.

The president was speaking after his Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi labeled the Azimio protests costly citing an East African Court judgment that directed the country to pay for damages incurred by traders from Uganda whose cargo was vandalised in the course of the anti-government demos.

"Busia is a border to win that should not tolerate demos as that will kill business with our neighbour Uganda," said Musalia.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua characterised his boss as an accommodative leader who spread the national cake evenly irrespective of how different regions voted for him.

"I had difficulties accepting the mammoth nominations into government positions from western Kenya because of their voting pattern which was skewed against us (Kenya Kwanza). In fact, I questioned my boss on why he appointed the likes of Ababu Namwaba, Susan Mangeni and others but he told me that they were cool people just that they erred at the ballot," he said.